Don’t alienate your consumers. Columnist Alex LePage explains how intent data and programmatic advertising can help you anticipate your customers’ needs and build relationships with them across devices.
Let’s take advantage of our ability to listen and “talk back” to consumers through effective deployment of intent marketing.
One of the fundamental differences between advertising in the pre- and post-digital worlds is that brands in the digital era have to initiate relationships with consumers. These relationships must be ongoing and truly bidirectional to deliver the best value to consumers and great results for brands.
Many brands have turned to social media for this purpose, but programmatic advertising, when properly harnessed, can also be an effective tool for initiating and managing consumer relationships.
After all, what people say they want on social media and what they actually do in real life aren’t always the same. And programmatic is the one marketing tool that can effectively leverage what consumers actually do.
Are you listening?
We’ve all heard about brands that pay a dear price for social media flubs. While ineffective programmatic advertising might not leave brands with egg on their faces in a public forum, they can be highly costly in terms of consumer trust and attention.
When a brand targets consumers with irrelevant ads or stalks users from site to site without being thoughtful about frequency and creative sequencing, it can make relationships between brands and consumers almost impossible to initiate or maintain.
But with a smart strategy and an effective execution platform that allows marketers to pair high-fidelity data about consumers with execution across as many devices, creative formats and quality publishers and apps as possible, programmatic can be a highly effective relationship-building medium.
That’s because programmatic enables brands to compile and action against the intent signals consumers give off as they make their way across the web and, thanks to mobile devices, even as they make their way across the world.
Intent signals are the demographic information, search data, browsing and purchase behavior and location-based data that can help brands anticipate what a given consumer might want or need now and in the future. Intent marketing understands the possible difference between a person searching for an espresso machine two months after having been in the market for an apartment and that person making the same search after browsing articles about Mother’s Day gift suggestions in April: One is likely shopping for himself or herself, and the other is a likely gift giver.
That knowledge can have ramifications for variables like machine price points and models the consumer is likely to be seeking. It can also speak to the potential for an ongoing relationship with that consumer past the point of sale: Will he or she be in the market for coffee beans, espresso mugs and maintenance kits on an ongoing basis, or might that be up to the gift recipient and thus not a priority to promote to the initial buyer?
It takes great data and very smart modeling over a sustained period to answer these types of questions for a given brand, but when used thoughtfully, these signals offer powerful clues as to what’s going on in the mind of the consumer. When paired with great creative and effective execution, they promise to make advertising feel like a helpful utility instead of an unwanted nuisance.
Poorly targeted ads might occasionally intersect with just the right consumer, but most of the time they won’t. In the process, they will alienate consumers at an incredibly high opportunity cost for brands.
But when properly executed, intent data and programmatic advertising that focuses on building ongoing relationships with consumers can foster relevance, engagement and, yes, commerce.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.